When Autocar meets Senna: 24 hours in the life of a legend Car News

Ayrton Senna in F1: special photo

The brilliance of the rainy weather was a hallmark of Senna’s career. Here he wins in terrible conditions at the 1991 Australian GP

F1 returns to Monaco this weekend, the scene of some of Ayrton Senna’s biggest wins. We go back to the time when we spent 24 hours with the great man, “ Mr. Monaco ” himself

Monaco have won some of Ayrton Senna’s biggest victories. As F1 returns to the principality for the 2021 season, we look back at when we spent 24 hours with the great man, “ Mr. Monaco ” himself.

Sunday June 23, 1991, 6:30 p.m., Kidlington Airport – Michael Harvey reports

The sky is as dark as the three gray stripes on the flanks of Ayrton Senna’s British Aerospace HS125, making it difficult for the Formula 1 world champion to arrive in Oxfordshire. He filed three different flight plans today for this short trip from Paris, but lands at 6:35 p.m.

Senna is the first to get off the plane, his plain white Reeboks and straight, cuffless jeans sliding down the blind side of the plane first. It’s lighter than you might think, but big in chest and arms under the pale blue cotton short-sleeved shirt and red McLaren bomber jacket.

The Honda PR manager stands next to me with his little boy, Jack. Jack wants to know if Senna can fly planes like he drives cars.

“No,” Dad said, “but he’s bringing his own helicopter back to Brazil.” Jack is impressed; Does Senna really have a helicopter as well as a racing car and a plane? “Oh yeah,” Dad said. “He has got everything.”

Today he also has a Honda NSX. The all-alloy supercar is parked right across the airport building, but Senna has to talk to customs, immigration, and Jack before he can get into the Honda; Jack seems to pass out when Senna asks him if he’s been a good boy. An affirmative answer earns him a badge.

7 p.m., Oxford ring road

Even the world champions are stuck in traffic, and Senna drops the window of the NSX as the big Honda slowly lines up behind at least a mile of traffic. “Oh nice!” he said, his English as soft and clear as an altar boy. “It looks really bad,” he concludes.

Still, it’s also a good opportunity to talk to Senna and he’s happy to discuss the automatic NSX, his own manual version in Portugal, the same one he hopes to have in Brazil, and the Golf GTI and the Mercedes 300TE. join there.

“You know, I basically like driving, as long as it’s sportier than a classic car and not a smooth car that’s slow,” he says. He’s a huge fan of the NSX, and not just because Honda pays his salary or because he’s likely to open Brazil’s first Honda dealership when he retires.

“It’s not a Ferrari, it’s not a Porsche, it’s a Honda. I drive a lot of different car makes. I love this car for everything it’s not. isn’t the most powerful sports car, but it has enough power for you to enjoy.Either way, you can’t have a lot of energy to use on the roads or you could become a big danger to the road. everyone. ”To prove the point, Senna pulls the throttle on and we rush into the gap that opened up while we were chatting.

Senna gets a little restless in the jam, although he accepts the fuss, smiles and cries of passing school kids in good spirits. I told him the NSX is a little soft for the best F1 driver today.

“I don’t want an uncomfortable car or a noisy car; I want a real automobile without the characteristics of high performance sports cars. Normally a sports car that you cannot drive every day because of the noise and all the uncomfortable things that go with this car, it is possible because the fundamental concept is a car to be enjoyed and driven in all conditions. “

7:30 p.m., Quat ‘Saisons Manor, Great Milton, Oxfordshire

We’re not going to break any Oxford / Great Milton records. Senna, unlike many of his F1 colleagues, doesn’t drive like crazy on public roads. Plus we have Milton Senna, Ayrton’s dad, behind us in a Honda Legend.

Senna has stayed at Raymond Blanc’s Manoir aux Quat ‘Saisons before and the staff are delighted when she arrives, the girls blushing, the boys trying to be cool. They all receive a wave of the hand and a smile from the man.

8:30 p.m.

Ayrton and his father have dinner alone. He eats well but only drinks Evian water. He’s in his bed for £ 220 a night long before midnight.

Monday, June 24, 1991


Senna gets up early, exercises, runs and eats breakfast. Milton sits quietly next to his youngest son as he drives to Silverstone.

10 a.m., Silverstone – Reports by Alan Henry

A depressing wall of rain hangs over the circuit like a wet blanket. Senna changes into coveralls and talks to McLaren team engineers and Honda technicians.

10:20 a.m.

Engine testing is Senna’s top priority after his disappointing run for third in the Mexican Grand Prix. Honda needs to extract more power from its RA121E V12 engine. Senna has been aware of this since preseason testing and he can’t wait for them not to underestimate the task at hand.

1 p.m., Marlboro McLaren …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-23 12:32:36